Gatorade Targets Energy-Drink Snubbers With Fast Twitch

The pre-workout drink has 200 milligrams of caffeine and no sugar.

September 07, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Gatorade is launching a caffeinated version of its classic sports drink line called Fast Twitch, reports CNBC. The drink is 12 ounces and contains electrolytes, B vitamins and 200 milligrams of caffeine without any sugar.

“Two hundred milligrams is the right amount to help athletes seeking benefits for exercise performance,” Matthew Pahnke, senior principal scientist at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, told CNBC.

PepsiCo, Gatorade’s parent company, is targeting the 32 million consumers who reject the energy-drink category because of the negative health effect it can have. Fast Twitch is intended to be a pre-workout drink, with adults drinking a more hydrating during their workout since caffeine is a natural diuretic.

“We know athletes will mix and match things,” Pahnke told CNBC.

The drink will launch next February, but NFL players will be seen drinking the product on the sidelines due to PepsiCo’s exclusive partnership with the league.

“We found this to be the sweet spot of bringing a new brand to market, with the distinction of being from the makers of Gatorade, much like Propel,” Anuj Bhasin, general manager of Gatorade, told CNBC.

This isn’t the first time a PepsiCo brand has blurred the lines between drink categories. PepsiCo released a Mountain Dew energy drink and a hard Mountain Dew this year, partnering with Boston Beer Co.

Over the past three years, PepsiCo has been expanding in the energy drink category, purchasing Rockstar Energy for $3.85 billion in 2020 and acquiring a minority stake in energy drink maker Celsius for $550 million.

Energy drinks are among the fastest growing non-alcoholic beverages. According to NACS State of the Industry Report of 2021 Data, energy drinks grew their lead as the top packaged beverages subcategory (accounting for 26.8% of total category sales in 2021) with an average-store sales gain of 14.4% last year. Gross profit jumped 19.9%, and average gross margins improved to 41.85% from 40.63%.

When it comes to sports drinks, PepsiCo is the market leader, with Gatorade and G Zero having 73% of the market share. BODYARMOR is second with 12% of market share, which is more than Coca-Cola’s Powerade. Last November, Coca-Cola purchased full ownership of BODYARMOR for $5.6 billion—Coca-Cola’s largest brand acquisition to date.

According to NACS data, sports drinks grew at the fastest rate of all packaged beverage subcategories in 2021, reaching average store sales of $3,205.

Read how energy drinks and sports drinks are helping to boost sales of packaged beverages in convenience stores in “Beverage Boosters” in the August issue of NACS Magazine.

The NACS Advanced Category Management Certification workshop is back again at this year’s NACS Show. Workshop attendees can earn their NACS Certified Convenience Advanced Category Management certification from NACS and Impact 21 by completing this hands-on, six-hour education session on Saturday, October 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT. Register today.